Islamabad: According to Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, the government is dedicated to creating strategic reserves of critical commodities such as sugar, wheat, lentils, edible oil, and ghee to ensure price stability and prevent excessive profiteering and hoarding.
He said strategic reserves would ensure timely availability of essential commodities to bridge the gap between supply and demand, speaking at the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) meeting.
The finance minister asked Jamshed Cheema, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research secretary, to design a plan and showcase it to the committee for discussion and approval.
He also demanded that the food ministry take immediate steps to import two million tons of wheat to ensure that the country’s staple commodity supplies are sufficient. On occasion, Cheema informed the meeting of a 0.03 percent increase in the weekly Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI).
He noted that the costs of six things had decreased, while the rates of 22 items had remained unchanged. The committee also looked at the monthly inflation trend, noting that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell by 1.3 percentage points to 8.4 percent in July 2021, down from 9.7 percent in June 2021.
Cheema also provided an update on the wheat procurement drive to the committee. He stated, “An order for the purchase of 220,000 tons of wheat has already been set down.” Likewise, the Ministry of Industries and Production secretary described plans to purchase 600,000 tons of sugar to preserve buffer supplies.
“Tendering has begun, and sufficient sugar stocks will be accessible in the country until the next sugar season,” he added.
The NPMC asked the Ministry of Industries and Production to speed up the tendering process and provide weekly updates to the committee.
Waqar Masood, the Finance Secretary, discussed the cost of petroleum products in neighboring countries. The committee praised Pakistan for having the lowest per-unit price of petrol and energy compared to other regional economies.
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